The Giralda in Seville
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Places in Spain - The Giralda in Seville

 

The Giralda is recognised as the symbol of the city of Seville and is the minaret of the old Almohad main mosque. It is widely believed that the mosque was designed by the architect Gerver, a mathematician whome is supposed to have invented algebra. It was built by the Almohads in the 12th century which was the peak of the Arab habitation of Andalucia. The tower is constructed of cut bricks and when originally built was 82 metres high. 2 metres of the height is now burried and 4 metres have disappeared as the balustrade and turrets were removed when Christian elements were added. The tower was crowned with four enormous apples of gilt copper which were of unequal size. It was the highest tower from which the muezzin called the faithful to prayer.

 

The apples fell as a result of an earthquake and were replaced by a small bell tower constructed by the Christians. This lasted until 1558 when the architect Hernan Ruiz began the construction of the present stage of bells, laid out in arched niches. The tower which was now 103 metres high was crowned by four urns with white lillies, worked in bronze in each corner. At the very top stood a bronze statue, standing on a globe, representing the victory of faith in Christ. Despite its huge weight of 128kg it rotated on an axis. The bronze now stands inside the Cathedral.

 

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Giralda, Seville

When the mosque was built it was one of the largest of its time and because the soil of Seville could not hold a building of such proportions, a huge concrete platform was constructed. The Giralda was the first tower in Spain to have a clock.

The chimes of the Giralda can still be heard today and are spectacular, despite the fact that they are now controlled by electricity. It is also possible to climb the 35 gently inclined steps inside the Giralda. From the top there is a panoramic view of the city.

Giralda

 

 
 
 
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